erie canal

The first of a dozen massive fermentation tanks destined for a Rochester brewery has started its westward journey aboard a barge on the Erie Canal.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in Waterford at the Erie Canal, May 2017
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

This morning, the New York State Canal Corporation began celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal's groundbreaking. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul officially opened the canal's 2017 season.

Facebook

The New York State Barge Canal has been designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

  The technological marvel of its age, The Erie Canal, grew out of a sudden fit of inspiration. Proponents didn’t just dream – they built a 360 mile waterway entirely by hand and largely through wilderness.

Jack Kelly tells the story in his book, Heaven’s Ditch

The technological marvel of its age, the Erie Canal grew out of a sudden fit of inspiration. Proponents didn't just dream; they built a 360-mile waterway entirely by hand and largely through wilderness. As excitement crackled down its length, the canal became the scene of the most striking outburst of imagination in American history.

The Erie Canal made New York the financial capital of America and brought the modern world crashing into the frontier. Men and women saw God face to face, gained and lost fortunes, and reveled in a period of intense spiritual creativity.

The new book: Heaven's Ditch by Historian Jack Kelly illuminates the spiritual and political upheavals along this "psychic highway" from its opening in 1825 through 1844. 

Jack Kelly will be at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck July 14, at the Schenectady Canal Festival at Mabee Farm Historic Site July 16, and at Northshire Books in Saratoga July 17.